Tiny homes and yoga kitties


I think she took up yoga without telling me…

Bunny is way more stable (food, fluids, some habits) than she has been for the last several months. I think it really hinged on those bad teeth. Now, she eats enough, which settles her stomach and leads to other improvements as well. I still haven't weighed her yet, but her fur feels silky again and she doesn't feel like a tiny little bag of bones.
We also have an 18 hour standard dose fluids schedule (vs larger dose at 24 hours) since it isn't so uncomfortable for her and she gets just that little extra fluid she needs… the down side of all of this is sort of NOT a downside: she looks way too cute in the morning following me around and looking at me with that sweet little quizzical face of "Where are you going? Why? Why? Why?"
Kills me dead every damn day.

House cleaning (and cleaning out) is an ongoing thing with me. I buy, I sell, I return, I donate, I inherit, I trade all sorts of things. Lots of clothes in that process, so I am always on the look out for a system that I like (and one I can sustain) for keeping my clothes hoarding tendency to a minimum. To be fair, it really isn't hoarding per se, its more like a fetish for fabrics. If you ask me about a particular article of clothing, chances are I will talk about the feel of the fabric, then the color, then the travel-ability,  then the fit… if I even talk about the fit of the item at all.
Hence my normally schlumpy look that is filled with lovely materials.
Yesterday, quite possibly during a sugar high, my pea-brain decided that it had the answer to all my problems: Just pack for each kind of trip you go on and chuck the rest. Then (after the resultant crash) I thought about the logistics of dragging all my clothes out of their various cubbies and then the whole "work wardrobe" list and I suddenly felt very tired.
Perhaps I will put off this whole catharsis until I win the lotto and can go build my tiny home in the country. I'll keep you posted on my progress.
Speaking of tiny homes… a friend of mine, who is of a nature to make things happen (even more so that I do-and I'm no slouch, but I think I spend more time project planning mine and end up waiting a bit longer to go do than she does) started talking about building her own tiny home… in the Bay Area.
Now, there are several obstacles to that – mostly involving huge heaps of money to start –  so I was interested in seeing how she would approach it. I was disappointed to see that her initial foray into the tiny home dream was faced with the reality of the $120,000 it would take just to get permission to do the house and get the septic system put in.
Well, we'll see how she does, I don't want to influence her choices here since she tends to do what she wants to do anyway… No, I don't know anyone like that either.
I have put some thought into my own tiny house…
It probably won't be as tiny as Jay Shaeffer's; will probably be about 700 square feet (small to medium apartment size) with a potential actual tiny home to serve as a office/guest house thing.
If I can get away with NOT having a septic tank I will, incinerator toilet or tie-in to the county sewer might be options.
I will most like not even consider the Bay Area as a location for me… the costs she listed, not to mention future property taxes for an expensive area in a bankrupt state being big huge warning to stay away.
Not to mention I kind of want to avoid taking out a loan for any of this, so I got some more saving to do regardless.
Ah well. There's always the Lotto….

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Much ado about food.

So, perhaps I am a bit melodramatic when it comes to anything Bunnycat related.
(A bit.)
But there is still a real basis in fact about what all is involved in keeping her balanced.
Enough fluids, but not too much. More if she's wobbly.
Is that a drop in red blood cells or just a bit of dehydration mimicking its effect?
Is that weakness in her hind legs or more dehydration?
She's NOT EATING OMG OMG OMG… oh wait, she just wants fresh.
YOU WHAT? Her food is different? She's going to starve and die!!!!! Oh, she likes this, too. What? I ordered the wrong food? Sorry, am a moron.

What? Her fluids haven't arrived? I put the refill in FIVE DAYS AGO. SHE WILL DEHYDRATE AND DIE WITHOUT THIS. Oh you do have it? What do you mean “Do I still want it?” Are you insane, I drove here to pick it up YES I WANT IT.
Gah.

Balance, not so much.
Actually, when I am around Bunny I can keep my voice level and soothing. Petting her if she wants it. Catching her when she doesn't quite make the jump (she is kind of starting to show her age, but the last few months have been pretty rough). Coaxing her into eating just a little more food. Topping off her Ringer's when she looks droopy.
I'm also hanging in infinitely better than all of last year.
Jeebus. Waterworks all the damn time. I was tired of me.
This year, I just decided “Fuck it. She's just gonna live.” and she turned 19 this month. End of May will be 2 years of end-stage CRF.
All the test results are still stable, they backed off on her medicine, we dealt with the ear infection (finally) and her teeth don't seem to be falling out currently. (There have been some cat box incidents… in that she wasn't using the dang cat box, but I switched her to something she didn't have to lift legs to walk into and also got her food mix/volume stable so that is mostly resolved. Now I think she's out of habit of where she needs to go, so we'll get that sorted and I will be relieved… um sorry about the pun.)
Know what also is helpful? Having an empath around who can tell me what she is feeling. Handy that.

Anyway, so the last several months have been a bit hard. Of course, I never would have given up, but I was worried that she didn't want to keep going on with things if she wasn't enjoying being here. I'm very glad to say she's starting to be happy about things again.

What about me?
Well, I've been going to work and coming home. Doing lots of freelance projects and not getting a lot of sleep. A bit depressed over Bunny not being well and hoping I could stop the downward slide.
Tex and I went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium after not having had been there for a while. We stopped in at the crepe place for our traditional nosh before the aquarium and I managed to conduct the whole transaction in French with the guy behind the counter who may or may not have been French, but was definitely from a French speaking area.
Well, it amused me.
I'm listening to an audiobook during the commute to and from work; Shadow of the Silk Road (Unabridged) by Colin Thubron which makes me want to load up my backpack and go. I find that deserts and high mountaintops are the places that I end up dreaming about (Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan, Taklamakan, Sahara, Sahel, etc…). Empty, cold, barren and starkly beautiful… and fewer people. I'm not at one with the crowds.
We'll see where I end up once Bunny doesn't need me anymore. (There's no rush on my part, thanks. Don't get any ideas, cat.)
My sushi trauma is holding off… we are still going to the old place while they leave things as they should be. Also, went back to one of the very few in the area that haven't either closed or offended us and we think that we might be able to get by if the new owners of HoS lose their everlovin' minds and change stuff.
And as usual, I'll just keep putting one foot in front of the other and keep going. The wheel will turn and eventually things will ease.

Helluva last few days.

Saturday was migraine in the morning and then replace fuel pump (or watch pet mechanic writhe around in the filth replacing my fuel pump. Yes, he understands just how much he means to me.) then sushi.
Sushi was a bittersweet affair as this was the last weekend that they would be open.
Times have been tough around here and lots of businesses have closed, packed up and moved elsewhere or simply just cut their ranks to a tiny portion of their former size.
This was a second location of my other sushi place and I really liked this one. It was hard won though; the city of Dublin dicked them around with permits and delays and essentially they didn’t get started in their new place until the beginning of the recession, missing out on building a following in the area. On top of that, the business parks around them were emptied soon after they opened and people started being very careful of how they spent their money (FYI:unemployment in Cali is still 12.5%). So after that double whammy they couldn’t survive. The other location is still open, however it is being sold to new owners. They swear up and down nothing is going to change, but I still see change on the horizon and I don’t particularly like it. (I am a Leo you know.)
I’ll give them a chance, but I’m not confident of their promises.Sunday, we went to see Timmy. He is moving back to Tennessee on WED and I’m not to terribly happy about that either. Intellectually I know it is good for him, but hell, this is not fun.
After visiting Timmy one last time, we went for the last night of sushi.

You probably think I’m being overly emotional about raw fish, but I’ve been going to this restaurant  (or the original one) for 11 years now. I know all the people – they have little to no turn over in staff… even the busboys we know by name. The food is fantastic (and I rarely find a sushi restaurant around here that I go back to more than twice. They just don’t compare.) So yes, I am unhappy about losing my favorite restaurant and a lot of my friends that I have known for 10 years.

Bunny is still eating well and putting on weight. Her ear is still messed up so I have ear goop to administer twice a day.
This isn’t making her happy as you would imagine. She’s crabby at me already for giving her fluids (she tolerates it, but you know she isn’t excited about it either. Sure, its understandable, but its also pretty crucial to her survival, so I continue to be the bad guy.)
So on top of that, she’s getting stuff squirted in her ear twice a day and she REALLY HATES that.

(Here is where I will be talking about cat poop. You might want to go read something else if it squicks you out something fierce.)
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Sometimes I forget she’s a cat, too.

Bunny hadn’t been doing too well last week.
She was wobbly, she fell over several times and just lay there looking like “Hey, how did I get here?” and it was freaking me out.
Yes, this is very cute until you realize that she doesn’t sleep like this and this was her falling when she stepped out of her bunny bed. I’m glad I keep her up there in the middle.

So I called my vet on Monday and told him all her symptoms (really wobbly, better after fluids, eating well, diarrhea, not talking or purring for a while) but I was wondering if she was finally needing the hormone shot because she’d dropped blood cell production. He said to increase fluids and that it was unlikely that she’d dropped so soon after the most recent tests (which were fine and a little improved at that.) and that being a bit dehydrated would produce a little spaciness and wobbliness.


She also has started sleeping a little canted over to the side, all I could find is that she might be lying that way to offset some pain. I’m wondering if the added heat on her shoulder feels good.
Anyone else seen this in their cat?

Fine, he talked me down from the ledge but the following night she was kind of staring into space and when I had to touch her to get her attention I decided to take her in anyway. She had lost weight despite eating like a little piggy, so we suspected hyperthyroid, but her numbers from the tests came back steady from the last set or within range of normal cat numbers… and curiously, her red blood cell count was slightly improved. Even the potassium test came back within range (he mentioned that the sleeping canted might be potassium imbalance).
She did have two horrid teeth (he found those when he was checking her gums for pinkness.) and also her ears were all cruddy again. So when they whisked her to the back to take blood they got those horrid teeth out (he said they came out easily without her making a peep… she squirmed, but she does that.) So we still don’t know all that is going on with her, but the vet and I are a little more reassured.
When I got her home, she went right over to her food bowl and started purring while she ate.
Finally.
She talked a bit for the rest of the day, but she really hasn’t done either since (so I’m wondering if they numbed her mouth a little while they were back there) so I figure she’s probably a little sore and it will fade. (I’ll put the panic on hold for a week, then revisit the situation after there has been some healing time.)
Last night, she ate normally (not like the feeding frenzy of the past few weeks) and wasn’t running all over the house all night, so she was just normal cat tired this morning.
I tend now to blame everything on her poor little kidneys, so having a normal old Siamese cat issue* was a reminder to stop being so myopic.
Ah me.

I guess I just can’t see the forest for the kidneys.


*Before you start yelling at me for cat tooth care, Bunny lost most of her teeth before she was 5 and no, canned food wasn’t the culprit. She’s always eaten crunchies (she never liked canned food, in fact I was a little worried when she developed kidneys of doom and had to be on canned food that she would refuse it.Luckily, she likes it well enough.) But Siamese cats (and she’s a lot Siamese-blue eyes, color area (even if those colored areas are calico patchy), voice and personality) have notoriously bad teeth. Deck is stacked against them even with brushing.

Spiders and cooties and kitties… oh my!

Last week, probably as I was in the storage space putting some shelves together, I seem to have gotten bitten on the face by a spider. Never felt it bite, it didn't get too swollen (I couldn't see it but other folks said they saw a bit of swelling) and I didn't get too bogged down by it since I took a sudafed and did a couple of hits on my inhaler. No problem…
However, the following week I started to notice that I was being attacked by killer cooties.
Face got all blotchy, neck was sore and Sunday afternoon, I basically was ready for bed. I made it home from errands (Tex was driving-which was good) and then I went to sleep. REM sleep for several hours.
I emailed in sick to work for Monday since I was dizzy and the thought of getting up in the morning, driving 30 miles then sitting at my desk all day made me want to weep. I then proceeded to sleep and sleep and sleep. I woke up long enough several times a day to feed Bunny and give her medicine, but other than that, I can't quite recall much of Sunday afternoon or Monday.
I feel a bit better now, but I am still pretty ravaged.
I'm guessing that fighting off the spider bite weakened me enough to catch whatever crud happens to be floating around.
Blech.

On an unrelated note: Does the feeling of dorky ineptitude ever go away when you see people from high school?
No? Well, OK.
What did you say? I still am dorky and inept? Yeah, thanks Captain Obvious. I know that.
(So, I'm watching Sixteen Candles now…that should help.)

Moving on then…
Bunnycat news: She went through *ahem* a messy patch and I thought that she was having an issue with the food I was feeding her (you know the one that I just ordered a ton of) but after some judicious cat experimentation, I see that it is the Pepcid I have been giving her to deal with too much acid that is making her stomach acid go weird. Stupid Pepcid. It messed with me, too. Like mother like daughter.
The vet visit went well, he said we don't have to be back for 6 months since her numbers are still consistent and her phosphate levels evened out when we backed off on her medicine… so she's on less medicine overall.
So I stopped the Pepcid and she's eating and eating and eating. Its nice, she a little fatter than normal. This is good, but I don't think she's evened out yet. She's a little standoff-ish and I haven't heard her purr for a while.
Its kind of killing me.
Don't get me wrong, she's doing pretty well and she's not in pain (that is the only thing about kidney failure that is good-it has no pain associated with it.) but she's probably not too comfy.  I wouldn't try any less hard but I sometimes wonder if she's enjoying herself at all.
I'm ready for her to let things settle and feel sort of good again.

Oh hell its after midnight… time to go to bed.

Il Buono, Il Brutto, Il Cattivo

Sunday we spent the day at Mikey's having the pre-birthday celebration for Tex (cupcakes and puppy dog noses trying to get in the cupcakes) and was a pretty good day. We got back to the apartment and fed Bunny, who was acting pretty normal, though she started slowing down about an hour later and then her front leg seemed to fill with fluid very quickly.
She wasn't acting right so I carried her on to the bed to pet her.
Her leg was tender, it was swollen so it would be tender, but I couldn't find a break or a cut. But she also wasn't putting much weight on it, so there was something wrong.
She started acting disoriented, but not in pain and it was one of the things animals do before they die… I really couldn't deal with THAT decision right then, so I tried to get her to settle and talked to her to keep her calm.
I thought I was losing her.
I turned up the warming pad in her bed to keep her comfy and just talked to her for about an hour. I just couldn't wrap my head around the fact that I was going to lose her at that point.
When she finally  stretched out on the heating pad and sighed a little Bunny sigh, I figured we were out of the woods. Poor little kitty doesn't have very much blood as it is, when she gets cold I supposed it gathers center mass and leaves her brain to its own devices. Also, her leg drained nicely and she rested for a while as long as I stayed there. So I didn't move.
I fell asleep sideways on the bed and woke up about 3 am with my legs killing me (from hanging over the side of the bed) and had to pee like mad. When I got up, she stood up, all perky-like, meowed and hopped off the bed as neat as you please to go to the kitchen for her 3am snack.
I was still worried about her the next morning even though she was moving around well, eating like a little lion and generally acting her normal self. Tex was home all day Monday, so I went to work and left her in his care (he was a wreck at this point). I called the vet and told them about what happened and asked my vet to call me back with a yay/nay on bringing her in for a look-see and also what her test results were from last time.

Eventually, my very tolerant and long suffering veterinarian calls me back and says that her numbers are improving, that we should keep all her medicines at current levels and to keep doing what I am doing. He wasn't as concerned about the fluid build up in her leg as it had already receded. He did agree with my theory about her getting cold and her internal pumps going a little cattywampus.
Then he said he really didn't need to see her for another 6 months.
*blink*
This kind of floored me because I got the impression from his last visit, because he didn't give out a year’s prescription on the fluids and needles, that he didn't believe she had that long left… and she had lost a little more weight last time, I thought she was starting her final decline.
Such relief that I get to  be around her a lot more.
She's such a sweet little cat. She's smart, she's hilarious, she loves me and frankly after 18 years of having her around, I don't know what I will do without her. I was basically a different person when I got her.
So, I still have my little kitty and I'll do every thing I possibly can for her while she still wants to be here.
Punto; full stop.

Have I talked about her lineage?
I worked at a bookstore in Austin and worked with some seriously awesome people. Melvyn (his nickname, I have a thing for nicknames…you may have noticed) and Amy were roomies before Melvyn became my roomie. Amy had Peanut the cat who was a dark brown calico. She had a litter at one point and one of those kitties went to her brother Marshall in San Antonio. Marshall had a problem with not spaying his cats, so lucky for me, she had kittens; I asked for the runt and got Bunny.
She's part siamese, I believe, and part calico. I always hear that she is the most beautiful cat… and she is :) . She started off with dark ears and tail and the rest of her was white with cream spots. Gorgeous then and gorgeous now that she darkened up over time (that's siamese trait)  to dark brown, caramel and tan (calico markings). Silky fur and blue eyes…not to mention the siamese talkative thing. She's got quite the vocabulary. She even has special meows for different people; ring tones effectively.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/fredlet/tags/bunnycat/

I've mentioned before what weird luck I have. In fact, I wouldn't call it luck per se, but more along the lines of balance put upon me.
Something horrible happens and then something offsets it.
Bunny seemed like she was dying, then she was ok and I find out her numbers are actually very good.
or then what happened MON night…
My car's Check Engine light came on and I find out its just a little hose that we replaced summarily with a minimum of jostling… and I don't even have to use up my spare $100 part I keep in the car for the more common failure.

At 150k miles, the beast is a work horse. I love this car.
Its comfy, it gets reasonable gas mileage and its of a vintage that its still repairable by a non-dealer mechanic. (Even more awesome is the fact that Tex's nephew is my pet mechanic and we bribe him with computer parts and keep his machine going). I even have a spare ignition coil to fix it on the spot when I get that particular code showing on the code reader. However, it turned out not to be the case in this one. It was the mass airflow filter that we'd replaced a while back, and I didn't have a spare one of those…but Michael looked at it and said "Hmmm, this hose feels funny."
He replaced it and so far, so good. 

So, Bunny still trotting around nicely, the tension levels (well, Bunny related tensions) in the house have calmed (ants are back…grr. I don't want to move but Tex is insane when the ants show up. We'll see what happens.(read:if he wants to move my apartment full of crap, he'll get off his butt, go find a place and organize the money to do so himself. I'm busy taking care of Bunny and the rest of life right now.)) and I think I found a reasonable option for keeping her warm when the radiator is off. Summer is coming and in NorCal is COLD.
I got one of those pop-up dog crates. I turned it on its side so that one of the vents was under her, the other one, now on top, I covered with a dishtowel to keep the warm air in and then covered the whole thing with a beach towel for insulation.
Her warming pad and current towel I moved in wholesale and set it all on the couch.

She was not amused.

She walked in and stood there with her tail swishing in that I'm-irritated-with-you way and didn't move for a full minute. Then she turned around, walked out and then climbed all over me (I was sitting in the chair where her bed used to be.) and gave me The Look several times.
After about 45 minutes, she got in, turned around and lay down, but still gave me the look telling me that this wasn't over yet. (I called it "The Oven"… obvious joke of "The Bun is in The Oven" followed shortly after.)
I think that it will hold enough heat to keep her a bit more comfy, but I'm sure we'll tweak the setup over time and see if she starts to get used to it.

So, the plan for the next six months it to keep her weight up. We're talking ounces, so a regular scale is useless, she's not featherweight so a kitchen scale is too wimpy, and some of the larger scales seem overkill.
My fabulous find? A travel luggage scale. Works in ounces and is compact. I'll just stuff her in a carrier for a few minutes every few weeks and weigh her; I'm sure she'll love that.